shotgun recoil

Discussion in 'The Counter' started by fez, Aug 5, 2017.

  1. fez

    fez Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2009
    Is it the gage or load that matters most? Will a 20ga have less recoil then a 12ga using a 2 3/4 in both? My 12ga days are over with some burcitis/arthritis in my shoulder. Tried limber saver devices etc etc nothing makes it anymore pleasant. Was thinking of going to a .410 as house gun but I want to be able to keep up with practice at the range sometimes.
  2. MightyHunter

    MightyHunter Member

    Jun 15, 2015
    The perceived recoil will be determined by the weight of the gun, the shot charge weigh and the velocity. You may want to check out the recoil calculators on line
    guru2sum likes this.

  3. MightyHunter

    MightyHunter Member

    Jun 15, 2015
    One other note is that gas operated shotguns seem to have less recoil because of the mechanism absorbing some of the recoil
  4. fez

    fez Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2009
    Thanks for the tips. Will look into that calculator specs.
  5. MightyHunter

    MightyHunter Member

    Jun 15, 2015
    I have bursitis in my right shoulder so I understand what you're going through. Getting old is not for wimps
  6. Brewster6514

    Brewster6514 Active Member

    Jun 10, 2006
  7. BlakeHanson

    BlakeHanson Well-Known Member

    May 31, 2015
    This is actually only the reaction force of the shot acceleration. Newton's third law. It does not include several factors that would affect "perceived recoil".
    I have long been interested in coming up with an accurate way to measure perceived recoil.
    His calculator only calculates the recoil force from the acceleration of the shot.
    It does not include 3 important factors:
    1. The portion of recoil that is from the high-velocity gas following the shot. This is what muzzle-brakes mitigate. It is a significant part of the total recoil the shooter feels and is completely left out.
    2. How much energy is mitigated by absorption between the stock and shoulder with padding. ie: 2 identical guns firing the same load, one with a Limbsaver/Pachmayer pad and the other without will have identical numbers but greatly different "perceived recoil".
    3. Automatic shotguns harness (consume) energy to cycle the action that would end up as recoil in a pump gun. Some of the late-model autos (ie: Benelli) have made great progress in mitigating recoil this way. Shoot some. They are downright pleasant:).
    Again, 2 same weight guns firing the same load have very different recoil.

    There is no accurate way to include the above factors in a calculator.
    We need a test rig. It wouldn't be that complicated.

    A test rig could have one part that measures the acceleration impact factor (think: 'hammer-blow'), and another one that measures net energy of the recoil (shove).
    Perhaps there should even be a "misery factor" (hammer+shove=misery:().

    @ Fez: Sorry for the derail. A lightweight .410 has low total recoil but a high 'hammer' factor. The lightweight gun can accelerate quickly due to it's small inertia. A 20 gauge Benelli auto would probably be the softest shooting of them all, but they are expensive!
    (click on Technology)
  8. ral357

    ral357 Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2015
    A 20 gauge auto may be a good option. 20 gauges generally weigh somewhat less than a comparable 12 negating some of the reduced recoil. There is no reason a clever lad couldn't add a bit of weight further reducing the recoil. While the 410 would reduce the recoil much more I would not feel comfortable relying on it in a self-defense situation.
    MightyHunter likes this.
  9. haertig

    haertig Well-Known Member

    Jun 14, 2008
    I have a 410 that i never shoot. Last time I did, I was a bit surprised by the recoil. Not that it was bad, but that it was unexpected. Much better than a 12ga though.

    Definitely don't use the magnum loads. Use the shorter shells (2-3/4). They even make "reduced recoil" loads.

    You can add weight to the gun, to help reduce recoil, by mounting spare shells on the receiver and/or stock. And a flashlight up front. Get a handgrip stock too (not handgrip ONLY, but handgrip integrated with shoulder stock).

    My home defense 12ga does not kick much at all (for a 12ga!) But the way it's outfitted, it weights about 3-1/2 tons, and that helps. The magazine if full too (but no shell in the chamber, gotta rack the slide once to make it ready). Obviously I don't plan to run out of ammo if an intruder intrudes! If I do, well, I'll have to accept that my time here was destined to come to an end. That's all buckshot - some #00, some #1 and some #4 - all labeled clearly on the top of each shell so I know what I'm grabbing (if there's light enough to see).

    850sub and MightyHunter like this.
  10. BlakeHanson

    BlakeHanson Well-Known Member

    May 31, 2015
    That is understandable. The smaller .410 shells are waaay more expensive than 20ga or even 12ga across the board too huh.gif . And you can only sling a fraction of the lead the others do.
    Did learn something though: Why the 20ga round isn't loaded with 00 or 000 buckshot NoDeal.gif .
  11. phideaux

    phideaux Fido for short Supporter

    Feb 8, 2011
    West Ky
    A well designed muzzle brake can greatly reduce recoil and barrel movement.

    Last year , I had my wifes VEPR 12, with a really good tuned muzzle brake, and Buzzsaw had the same VEPR 12 without the brake.

    The recoil was at least half , with the brake, than without it.

    850sub and BlakeHanson like this.
  12. JAB

    JAB Well-Known Member

    May 6, 2010
    East Tennessee
    I have an old Stevens single 20 gauge that I bought at a gun show. Without some kind of buttpad, etc. it kicks like a mule. Even with regular, old 'field loads' I can hardly stand to shoot it more than a couple of times without some padding. It 'kicks' worse than my Mosin-Nagant. I think it even 'kicks' worse than my Steyr-Mannlicher carbine.

    I have a single shot 12 gauge that I've had since I was a teenager (present from my parents, second gun I owned, first was a .410 single.) It is a little heavier and doesn't 'kick' nearly as badly as the 20 gauge - nowhere close.

    As for semiautos not 'kicking' as badly, well, I have a 16 gauge semi that I inherited from my grandfather. The 'kick' from that thing is nearly as bad as the aforementioned 20 gauge single. I can't put more than about three rounds through it at a time without a pad. Keep in mind, too, that I am a bit of a 'recoil junkie' but those, two shotguns are just too much without good padding.

    My point is that, based on my actual experience with guns I own, no, a 20 gauge will not necessarily 'kick' less than a 12 gauge nor will a semiauto necessarily 'kick' less than a pump. It really depends on the gun's weight, probably the design of the stock and so on.
  13. fez

    fez Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2009
  14. mtn_chef

    mtn_chef Well-Known Member

    Mar 22, 2014
    nc mountains
    We went with a mossberg 500 special purpose in 20 gauge for the house just so the wife could shoot it. It was a challenge to find that model at the time I bought it. I really wanted the full size stock model so I could swap out the 18" barrel to ribbed 26" field barrel, were I ever to maybe hunt with it. I see turkey's every where up here. Mossberg's field barrels for the 500's are ported and in 20 gauge are actually pleasant to shoot. I shot a friends standard field model and It sold me on the mossbergs in 20 gauge. Real soft shooting, for me. Can't remember the exact price I paid for the gun but trying to find the second barrel was going to be pricey. I actually got a Maverick 20 gauge barrel off of ebay for like 75 bucks but it lacked the ports. Seller said it was a mossberg barrel which technically it was; however...
    I kind of wish I had gone for a youth model 20 gauge as this gun sits ready- set up for home defense with the 18n inch barrel more often than not. The shorter stock would make it a little handier. But I'm happy with it. Whenever we do defense shotgun drills at the range everyone tries my 20 gauge after making the expected "size" jokes and then enjoys shooting it versus their 12's.
    I'd go with a ported twenty gauge barrel and one of those packmeyer limbsaver slip on recoil pads. And for a range day those strap on-gel filled should pads would help even more. Not to many of the 18" barrels accept chokes but there are chokes out there now that do some really cool stuff. Cabela's last turkey season catalogue has all sorts of shot gun stuff I covet these days. IMG_4818.JPG
    23 rounds plus 5 in the gun...
  15. ole442

    ole442 Active Member

    There are low recoil 12g slugs out there that are acceptable to me and are better than a .410 IMO.
    jimboksg likes this.
  16. jimboksg

    jimboksg Active Member

    Dec 15, 2014
    I like my old buddy the Mossberg 185 bolt action 20 gauge with an adjustable choke. It has a two round magazine and is an nice shotgun from the 50's .There out there available and still very inexpensive. Low recoil due to the shotgun being so long. Plus it has a built in muzzle break and an adjustable choke on the end, No tools required. ;) o.f mossberg model185k-a 20 gage 001.JPG o.f mossberg model185k-a 20 gage 005.JPG
    darkwriter77 likes this.
  17. JR37

    JR37 Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2009
    Jonesboro, Arkansas
    I have a 20 gauge Mossberg 187 that my brother and I got for Christmas in 1952. It has been a family member for many years now. It was used as a home defense gun for several years. After the wife discovered the M1 carbine, the Mossberg went into storage.
    850sub and jimboksg like this.
  18. JAB

    JAB Well-Known Member

    May 6, 2010
    East Tennessee
    My late mother, a couple of years ago, said that her arm strength/endurance was getting to the point that she had trouble holding a 12 gauge pump up to her shoulder for a long enough period to feel confident in using one for defense (she had fibromyalgia.) The recoil was also becoming an issue but it was mostly weight. She ended up getting a Mossberg 500 in .410 - just a basic 'field' model. It was light enough she could hold it up more easily. It still has recoil, of course, but not bad. I bought a box of most of the .410 'defense' ammo that was available at the time, patterned it all through her gun and showed/told her which one seemed to be the best (honestly, they all patterned pretty well so I told her she should probably just go with the least expensive which, if I recall correctly, was the Federal .410 handgun ammo. At 'across the room' distances I don't think anyone who would keep coming after a round or two of good ammo from that .410 would be stopped by a 12 gauge, either. Thing is, I think the .410 is kind of like the P3ATs and P32s where ammo selection becomes much more important than if you are using a .357 Magnum or a .44 Magnum. My HD 12 gauges are loaded with basic Remington 00 buck that can often be found in 'bulk' packs at Walmart. I have tested and patterned it and feel fine using it. In a .410, though, I would want some fairly premium, SD designed ammo.

    Back to the pistol grip, though. I put a pistol only grip on my Maverick Security 88 (it is 'one of' my HD shotguns but not my main one.) I also put a single point sling attached to the rear of the pistol grip. By pushing the gun out against that sling I can kind of 'lock' it into place so that it really doesn't jump around that much under recoil. By holding it up to about my chest I can point it using the front sight and get pretty good results on target at 'across the room' distances. Well, back when she was still feeling pretty good (before the symptoms that lead to discovering her brain cancer), she wanted to try it because she had always liked the look. In her case, though, she shot it from the hip. That way she didn't have to worry about the weight of holding it up and, honestly, at 'in the house' distances she was at least as successful at getting good hits on target as I am with my method (a little better, if I am completely honest.) By bracing it against her hip she was able to mitigate the recoil to a level that it didn't bother her, at all, even with just the pistol grip and was able to get follow-up shots on target pretty quickly. She liked it a lot. In fact, she liked it so much she wanted a PGO on her new .410 but we didn't get around to it before she fell ill.
  19. ral357

    ral357 Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2015
    If the 20 gauge recoil is too much I'd go to a PCC. Someone well versed in a pump shotgun would be well served by a IWI Timberwolf pump action 357. Hard to find too bad...but plenty of 9mm 40s$w and 45acp semiautomatic available. Any of those three is preferably to the 410 except when dealing with birds and squirrels.
    MarkCO likes this.